Last year we shared a story with you about a British company (Oxitec) developing genetically engineered mosquitoes to fight against the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. At the time, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) were testing these mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, a mosquito & mosquito-borne disease haven.
HOW DO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MOSQUITOES ACT AS MOSQUITO CONTROL?
The engineered Aedes Aegypti male mosquito will mate with the wild female Aedes Aegypti. The resulting offspring die before becoming adults, effectively stopping them before they can spread disease or reproduce. The intended results are to significantly lower the population of Aedes Aegypti, therefore limiting the spread of dengue fever, Zika Virus, yellow fever and chikungunya.
FDA AWAITS PUBLIC COMMENT BEFORE FINAL APPROVAL
Fast forward to March 11, 2016, the FDA reached a conclusion from the investigation conducted in Florida, stating the genetically engineered mosquitoes will not have a significant negative impact on the environment. The FDA released a report giving a preliminary approval to release genetically engineered mosquitoes in the United States in an effort to combat the potential spread of the Zika Virus. Releasing the report is just the first step, the FDA awaits public comment on the findings before a final approval can be given.
COULD ENGINEERED MOSQUITOES COMBAT ZIKA VIRUS?
Oxitec reports trials conducted in Panama, Brazil & the Cayman Islands has aided in reducing the population of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes by 90%. According to Oxitec’s CEO, Hadyn Parry, the United States has only been able to reduce mosquito populations by 50% with current mosquito control methods. With fewer mosquitoes, comes fewer mosquito bites and less spreading of any disease they happen to be carrying. Until we know more about all of the mosquitoes that could carry Zika, the possible outcomes are yet to be determined. Do you think genetically engineered mosquitoes used to significantly lower the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes is a good idea?
We are committed to providing you the best information for staying up-to-date on the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses in the Central Massachusetts area. Stay tuned for the latest local mosquito news. Don’t forget, to limit the population of mosquitoes on your property, follow the 5T’s of mosquito control.